LYNDHURST — Faced with overcrowding, the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center might have to start making some tough decisions soon, officials said Wednesday.
“The unfortunate reality is that when we run out of space, we may have to euthanize in order to make room for incoming animals,” SVASC posted on Facebook on Tuesday. “No one wants to start making tough decisions, so we need to find some cats adoptive or foster homes.
The municipal animal shelter has not euthanized for space in more than a year, according to the post.
SVASC is sheltering 96 cats at its Lyndhurst facility and have placed another 145 in foster homes.
“We just don’t have space,” said assistant director Tracey Meadows.
The adoption rooms, intake rooms and kitten rooms are overflowing, she said. SVASC has 36 kittens under three months old. Many kittens in the shelter’s care are not old enough to be adopted because they still need their mothers. SVASC also has 24 cats that are looking for barn homes because they’re not social enough for homes.
“There are a lot of adult cats,” Meadows said of non-feral cats. “They’re healthy, friendly and ready to go. They’re just not moving. Adult cats, we know their personalities. They’re not going through the kitten stage — they’re easier to manage.”
Meadows said this week, they’ve gotten a lot of calls with people wanting to bring mom cats and kittens in. They’ve also received a lot of calls for people wanting to surrender their pet.
“Use us as a last resort,” she said.
If someone must rehome their animal, Meadows suggests pet owners use social media instead of the shelter. She suggested people check out the Facebook page, “WOOF + PURR Rehoming Network.”
Another option is to try the website rehome.adoptapet.com/r/95133.
These networks are for dogs and cats, Meadows said. Animals must be vetted and fixed.
Animals used to living in home with caregivers don’t do well in shelters, Meadows said. They suffer from stress and illness, sometimes grieving to death over their old owners.
The large number of cats at the shelter comes at a time when SVASC is understaffed. They have not had a director since mid-May and are down a kennel attendant position. There are also part-time positions available.
Meadows said they’re working hard to get their volunteer base back up. SVASC has recently been hosting volunteer orientations. Information on this can be found on their Facebook page, Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center.
In addition to adoptions and fosters, SVASC works with transport and rescue groups. Cat’s Cradle, in Harrisonburg, has taken in 232 cats and kittens from the Lyndhurst shelter already this year.
SVASC is the open admissions shelter for Waynesboro, Augusta County and Staunton. This means they cannot turn animals away. The shelter tries not to euthanize animals.
“Even though we try to place as many healthy, adoptable animals there are more coming in the door than there are homes for,” Meadows said.